Fans should have been watching Derrick Rose and the Chicago Bulls in action this past week at the start of the 2011-12 NBA season. But, due to the ongoing lockout, fans were left reading articles on Bleacher Report and playing NBA 2K12.
Needless to say, this week was a major disappointment for Bulls fans.
So, without having real games to report on, this is the hypothetical review of what could have been, if billionaires and millionaires had been able to compromise and the season had started on time.
The Chicago Bulls at the Dallas Mavericks would have been the highlight game to start the 2011-12 season.
It is unlikely the Bulls would have encountered an atmosphere as electric as this one during the regular season, playing against the Mavericks after receiving their championship rings and hoisting their banner in front of a sellout crowd of 19,200.
The Mavericks would have been starting their journey to repeat as NBA champions, but from the start, it would be clear that they were a step slower than they were in their championship season.
Much like the Celtics, who were champions in 2008, the Mavericks won it all by clicking at the right time. But, they have a roster comprised of veterans and have neither the drive nor the fuel left in the tank to complete the run for another championship.
Dirk Nowitzki would have done everything he could to win this game, but the Bulls' frontcourt would have proven too much for him.
The Bulls, on the other hand, are a young team who got a taste of success last year and would be looking to prove that their previous season wasn't a fluke. They would have been itching to show that they are more than able to handle last year's champions.
Individually, Rose would have been looking to improve upon his MVP season. Luol Deng would have been looking to prove he is one of the best defenders in the league, and Joakim Noah and Carlos Boozer would have been trying to show how well they play together.
The shooting guards would have been looking to prove that they can provide the support Rose needs, and the Bench Mob would have been looking to pick up where it left off last season as the premier supporting cast in the league.
In the end, this game wasn't going to be a real competition.
Rose would have started the season with an MVP-caliber performance, and the defensive prowess of the Bulls would have been too much for Dirk Nowitzki and a Mavericks team who has spent the offseason celebrating its championship instead of working to be the league's best.
The Bulls are hungry for a championship and would have won this game in convincing fashion.
Noah Blocks Landry
A day after beating the defending champion Mavericks, the Bulls would have had another challenge in playing at the New Orleans Hornets.
Any time Rose plays against Chris Paul, fans know they will witness an outstanding performance from at least one of the two All-Star point guards, so they're really missing out with this game not being played.
Rose has a much better supporting cast than Paul and, in the end, it would be the rest of the Bulls who would tip the scale in Chicago's favor to win this game.
In Chris Paul, the Hornets have one of the best players in the game. An all-around player, Paul provides All-Star performances on both the offensive and defensive end of the court.
After a decent regular season, capped off with a stellar performance against the Los Angeles Lakers in the playoffs, Chris Paul would be looking to return to MVP-caliber form, especially amid the uncertainty of his future with the Hornets. This uncertainty, though, would lead to dysfunctional play similar to the performances of Carmelo Anthony and the Denver Nuggets last season.
The Bulls, on the other hand, are a team with great chemistry and a deep roster. The Bench Mob would have stepped up big for them in this game, with solid performances from Omer Asik, Taj Gibson and its newest member, Jimmy Butler.
After a solid performance in Dallas, Rose would be looking to his teammates for support in the second game of a back-to-back, so we would have seen better numbers from Boozer, Noah and Deng. Rose's assists would have gone up, with a slight decrease in his scoring from the night before.
At the end of the night, the Bulls would have walked away with a 2-0 record but with a less convincing performance than the night before.
Most of the starters for the Bulls would have had decent nights with the exception of Noah, who would have had an excellent night, finishing with 20-plus points and 15-plus rebounds.
The Bench Mob would have shown that it's a force to be reckoned with, and the tone for the season would have been officially set after winning back-to-back games on the road.
The Bulls home opener would have been a great one. A sellout crowd of 20,917 excited fans would have been ready to support the team, and it would have been a great contest against the Atlanta Hawks, who the Bulls knocked out of the second round of the playoffs.
Kirk Hinrich would have been warmly welcomed by the fans he used to play in front of—some of these fans would dream of what it could be like if Hinrich was still a Bull and could fill the team's need at shooting guard.
The Hawks would have presented the biggest challenge to the Bulls in this early season, and the fans on hand at the United Center would have gotten their money's worth.
Al Horford always plays well against his former Florida Gator teammate, Joakim Noah, and he would have had a strong performance again. Hinrich, who is extremely comfortable playing in Chicago, would have put points on the board while being locked in from downtown.
The Hawks would be looking for revenge against the Bulls for beating them in the playoffs and would be looking to continue their early season success after beating the Boston Celtics at home the night before.
The Bulls would have been amped up for this game—getting to play their first game in front of their fans at home this season. The Bulls recorded an impressive record of 36-5 at home last season, and their fans were a big part of it.
Despite beating the Hawks in the playoffs, Rose would be looking for a little personal payback after the defensive performance they had against Rose. Many questioned his credibility as MVP when the Hawks were able to shut him down, and Rose would have outdone himself in this game to show that he is a force to be reckoned with no matter how well a defense plans for him and plays against him.
Although this game would have been close, the Bulls, who were solid in late-game situations against every team that wasn't the Miami Heat last season, would have found a way to prevail and win their home opener.
Chicago would be buzzing at how solid the Bulls looked offensively, and the Bulls would have finished Week 1 with a 3-0 record.
But, despite beating the defending champs and a couple of great teams, the Bulls would still be ranked behind the Heat and at least one team from the Western Conference in the Week 1 power rankings.
Forman Introducing Thibodeau
In a week where we could have seen the Bulls jump to a 3-0 record, we are left with very little action to report.
But, here are the highlights: